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The Civilized Bodies of Middle-Aged Women: A Qualitative Study of Participation in an Exercise Intervention in Denmark

Maria Hybholt

The present paper explores how aging bodies of middle-aged women can enable and constrain participation in physical activity. The study is inspired by the process sociology of Norbert Elias and builds on qualitative empirical material from passive observations (N = 57), focus groups (N = 51), and individual follow-up interviews (N = 21) with middle-aged Danish women who participated in a 3-month research project with exercise intervention. The qualitative study found that awareness of bodily aging enabled the taking up of exercise in the intervention. Additionally, taking up regular exercise in midlife can be understood as a highly rationalized leisure-time activity in relation to societal moral norms of self-responsibility for own physiological health. Furthermore, the qualitative material indicates that participation enabled a self-realization among the middle-aged women, as strong and capable bodies counter to the biomedical view of decline in the aging body.

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Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise Toolkit: Impact on the Knowledge, Perspectives, and Practices of Exercise Providers

Laura E. Middleton, Chelsea Pelletier, Melissa Koch, Rebekah Norman, Sherry Dupuis, Arlene Astell, Lora Giangregorio, Shannon Freeman, and On behalf of the DICE Research Team

Physical activity improves the well-being of persons living with dementia but few exercise programs include them. The Dementia-Inclusive Choices for Exercise (DICE) toolkit aims to improve exercise providers’ understanding of dementia and ability to support persons living with dementia in physical activity. We evaluated the co-designed DICE toolkit with exercise providers using a mixed-methods approach comprising pre/post questionnaires and interviews and reflection diaries. Among 16 participants, self-efficacy for exercise delivery to persons living with dementia and both knowledge and attitudes toward dementia significantly improved. Thematic analysis suggested participants (a) had a deeper understanding of the variability of dementia, (b) were planning for equitable access for persons living with dementia, (c) planned to promote social connection through exercise, and (d) were optimistic for future engagement with persons living with dementia. The DICE toolkit may improve exercise providers’ knowledge and confidence to plan proactively to support persons living with dementia in programs and services.

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Is There an Association Between Self-Reported Dual-Task Performance and Fear of Falling in Older Adults?

Ecem Kartal Özcan, Mustafa Karabulut, Kürşad Karakoç, and Banu Müjdeci

Introduction: Is there an association between self-reported dual-task performance and fear of falling in older adults? Background/Objectives: Fear of falling tends to increase with age and can negatively impact dual-task abilities, leading to potential declines in overall quality of life. Therefore, it becomes crucial to evaluate dual-task performance in older adults, particularly prior to the onset of fear of falling. This study aims to investigate the potential association between self-reported dual-task performance and fear of falling in older adults. Methods: A total of 51 individuals (19 females and 32 males) were recruited. The participants met the inclusion criteria were administered the Dual-Task Questionnaire (DTQ), Falls Efficiency Scale International, and Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly. Multiple linear regression was performed to predict DTQ scores based on age, body mass index, and Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly. Results: A moderate positive correlation was found between Falls Efficiency Scale International scores and self-reported DTQ scores (r: .448, p: .001). Age, body mass index, and Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly were not found to be significant predictors of DTQ scores. Conclusions: Our study reveals a moderate positive association between fear of falling and self-reported dual-task performance in older adults. A direct relationship between physical activity performance, fear of falling, and self-reported dual-task performance was observed among older adults. Significance/Implications: Integrating self-reported measures like the DTQ in clinical evaluations can provide valuable insights into dual-task abilities of older adults.

Open access

A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study of Machine-Based Resistance Training With Prefrail Older Adults in Residential Care: The Keeping Active in Residential Elderly Trial II

Bridgitte Swales, Gemma C. Ryde, and Anna C. Whittaker

Physical activity is an effective, proactive intervention to reduce or reverse frailty and functional decline. However, uncertainty exists about the feasibility and impact of resistance training on multidimensional health in prefrail older adults in residential care. This mixed methods feasibility study assessed practicability with limited efficacy testing on health and functional outcomes. Eleven prefrail older adults participated in a 6-week progressive resistance training protocol three times per week. The intervention and measures were found to be appropriate and acceptable by those who completed the trial, with participants self-reporting improved well-being, mood, and function. Analysis identified several barriers to recruitment, including prior commitments, seasonal impact, and session timing, and offered potential solutions with further recommendations for program refinement prior to a definitive randomized controlled trial. These findings add to our understanding of prefrail older adults’ preferences regarding participation in physical activity research and the perceived benefits of resistance training. This trial was registered with NCT03141879.

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The Effects of Virtual Reality Training on Cognition in Older Adults: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression of Randomized Controlled Trials

Mirjami Kantola, Outi Ilves, Sari Honkanen, Harto Hakonen, Riku Yli-Ikkelä, Anna Köyhäjoki, Marjo-Riitta Anttila, Aki Rintala, Hilkka Korpi, Tuulikki Sjögren, Juha Karvanen, and Eeva Aartolahti

The aim of this systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression was to examine the effects of virtual reality–based training on global cognition and executive function compared with conventional training or information-based treatment in older adults, regardless of cognitive level. A systematic literature search was conducted using four databases. A total of 31 randomized controlled trials were identified. Pooled effect sizes were calculated, the risk of bias was assessed, and evidence was graded. The primary analyses showed a small but statistically significant effect of virtual reality–based training compared with control on global cognition (Hedges’ g 0.42, 95% confidence interval [0.17, 0.68], I 2 = 70.1%, n = 876, 20 randomized controlled trials, low evidence) and executive function (Hedges’ g 0.35, 95% confidence interval [0.06, 0.65], I 2 = 68.4%, n = 810, 16 randomized controlled trials, very low evidence). Meta-regression yielded inconclusive results. Virtual reality–based training may be more effective than control in improving cognition in older adults; however, more high-quality studies are needed.

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Barriers and Facilitators to Participation in Vigorous Lifestyle Physical Activity in Adults Aged 55–75 Years: A Scoping Review

Bingyan Pang, Joanna C. Moullin, Craig Thompson, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Emmanual Stamatakis, and Joanne A. McVeigh

Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, less than half of adults aged 55–75 years participate in sufficient physical activity. Short bouts of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) accumulated throughout the day can contribute toward the recommended volume of physical activity. A rich characterization of the barriers and facilitators to participation in VILPA is needed to develop targeted interventions. This scoping review aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to participation in different components of VILPA in adults aged 55–75 years, and to map barriers and facilitators to the Theoretical Domains Framework. Within the 18 eligible studies, the most prevalent barriers were related to a person’s skills, environmental context, and social influences. Most facilitators were related to a person’s goals, social influences, and environmental context. Interventions to promote VILPA should test the effectiveness of behavioral change measures related to the unique barriers and facilitators in this age group.

Open access

Movement Patterns in Older Adults Recovering From Hip Fracture

Jules J.M. Kraaijkamp, Marjon Stijntjes, Jurriaan H. De Groot, Niels H. Chavannes, Wilco P. Achterberg, and Eléonore F. van Dam van Isselt

The aim of this study was to quantify physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults recovering from hip fracture and to identify groups based on movement patterns. In this cross-sectional cohort study, older adults (≥70 years) were included 3 months after surgery for proximal femoral fracture. Patients received an accelerometer for 7 days. Demographics and outcomes related to physical function, mobility, cognitive functions, quality of life, and hip fracture were assessed. In total, 43 patients with sufficient accelerometer wear time were included. Across all groups, participants engaged in very low levels of physical activity, spending an average of 11 hr/day in prolonged sedentary behavior. Based on the extracted components from a principal component analysis, three groups with substantial differences in levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior could be distinguished.

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The Exercise Right for Active Ageing Study: Participation in Community-Based Exercise Classes by Older Australians During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Christina L. Ekegren, Darshini Ayton, Helen Skouteris, and Sze-Ee Soh

The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with participation of community-dwelling older Australians (≥65 years) in the Exercise Right for Active Ageing program, consisting of 12 low- to moderate-intensity group exercise classes, delivered weekly, in person or online, by accredited exercise scientists and physiologists across Australia. Out of 6,949 participants recruited, 6,626 (95%) attended one or more classes and were included in the primary analysis, and 49% of participants attended all 12 classes. Factors associated with higher class attendance included participation in yoga/flexibility/mobility classes, attendance at a free trial class (adjusted incidence rate ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.05 [1.03, 1.08]), and attending online classes (1.19 [1.11, 1.26]). Factors associated with lower class attendance included state of residence, living in inner regional areas (0.95 [0.93, 0.98]), and having two or more comorbidities (0.97 [0.95, 0.99]). High class attendance suggests that the Exercise Right for Active Ageing program was well received by older Australians, particularly in states less impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns.

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Physical Activity and Health of Middle-Aged and Older Japanese Across the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differential Outcomes Highlight a Problematic Life Stage

Michael Annear, Tetsuhiro Kidokoro, and Yasuo Shimizu

Introduction: COVID-19 caused major disruptions across the super-aged nation of Japan, yet few studies explored temporal changes among middle-aged and older cohorts from baseline to the height of community transmission. Changes in physical activity and sedentary behavior during global pandemics may alter patterns of morbidity and mortality among susceptible aging populations. Objectives: This study investigated patterns of physical activity, sitting behavior, and health among representative samples of middle-aged and older adults in Tokyo before and during the pandemic. Methods: Repeated online surveys were conducted with quota samples of 800 Tokyo residents in 2019 and 2021 using validated Japanese-language measures, including the short form-International Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Basic Ecological Health Scale-6. Statistical analyses included comparative evaluations of activity parameters by age cohort, gender, and selected covariates. Statistical tests included the Kruskal–Wallis test, Mann–Whitney U test, chi-square test for Independence and Hierarchical Regression. Results: Over 34% of respondents were inactive at each data collection point, and 72% reported negative impacts of COVID-19 on their physical activities. Older adults showed no significant changes in their activity and sitting behavior and reported better health compared with those in middle age across the pandemic. Middle-aged males reported a significant decline in total activity of 33% across the pandemic period (U = 16,958, z = −2.64, p = .008, r = .13). Middle-aged females reported the lowest levels of physical activity, and health, and showed a 29% increase in sitting behavior across the pandemic (U = 16,925, z = −2.68, p = .007, r = .13). Subjective health status was consistently associated with higher overall activity and walking before and during the pandemic. Conclusion: Differential outcomes were identified between age and gender regarding health, physical activity, walking, and sitting across the pandemic with significantly worse impacts reported among middle-aged samples. Implications: These results have implications for healthy transitions to later life and the design of postpandemic interventions to address activity opportunities in Japan.

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Personalization Characteristics and Evaluation of Gamified Exercise for Middle-Aged and Older People: A Scoping Review

Lisha Ren, Jie Yan, Zhehao Zhu, and Murui Du

Many studies have shown that personalized exergames have a positive effect on promoting regular and proper exercise. However, there is no consensus on the design characteristics and evaluation of exergames. This systematic review of published research literature aimed to explore the general characteristics, personalization characteristics, and evaluation of personalized exergames for middle-aged and older people. We screened published studies in the Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, ACM, and IEEE Xplore databases, extracted data, and performed a thematic analysis according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews checklist. Three main themes and nine subthemes were generated from 24 included papers. Moreover, a personalization model (FACTS) and evaluation system (PMSS) of exergames were developed. Personalized exergames had potential positive effects on motivating middle-aged and older people to exercise and improve their health, particularly physical, mental, and social health. However, more fine-grained studies on personalized exergames are necessary in the future.